Antinatalism

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Re: Antinatalism

#41  Postby Andrew4Handel » Mar 23, 2012 8:09 pm

mjt wrote:

Why do you need a "thing" to replace religion?


I was refering to my own experience.

Christianity claims there is a a god that created reality for a purpose. Imagine you see a car. You don't need to know exactly how it works but the idea that it was created makes intuitive sense and answers your initial questions.

I had alot questions about the nature of God when I was in Christianity. But I had an answer to why I existed. If someone said "That car wasn't designed by humans" that would create a different kind of question and mystery to asking how the car functions.

When I left the religious narrative I had no experience of a secular upbringing and secular relatives to fall back onto. I had to completely recreate my life and ideologies which most people don't have to. When you have to recreate meanings you realise how tenuous and taken for granted they were in the first place.

So for example say we eradicated society and brought up a generation without marriage would they reinvent it?

People should just stop procreating because it leads to inevitable and nontrivial suffering (Benatar) Personal oblivion will come to us all (if there is no afterlife) making all out current hopes and aspirations irrelevant but I am sure having a child amy comfort some and mean they don't have to feel a complete sense of personal extinction having left something of themselves behind...
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Re: Antinatalism

#42  Postby OlivierK » Mar 23, 2012 9:46 pm

Andrew4Handel wrote:
mattwilson wrote:Well I don't know how many balls your life sucks but by having children I'm introducing them to life, to beauty and wonder, I enrich their lives and they enrich mine. What a tragic view, I pity anyone who truly thinks like that.



You and your children may be happy that is not enough to make a universal statement about the rights and wrongs of procreation.

Nevertheless David Benatar who wrote a book on this topic challenges peoples accounts and the reliability of their accounts of their own happiness.

If someone with no arms and legs is happy you could argue that we should all be happy in that scenario because it is possible however it is unlikely that we would all be happy and able to function in that scenario.
Psychologists have discovered an optimistic bias in which people are shown on average to be over optimistic about outcomes in the face of contrary evidence. Such as under estimating the likelihood of them having a serious illness or getting an STD etc.

I was not completely unhappy as a child despite having lots of abuse and bad scenarios. I was bullied regularly at school and went to a hell and damnation church with oppressive rules. It is possible to maintain your spirits for I don't know what reason in the face of hardship. The problem is then that you fail to properly identify abuse and needless suffering and thus propogate it. I only fully recognised what I had been through was wrong and damaging when I had to fend for myself and didn't having the coping mechanisms.

In reality extreme suffering is happening right now to many people living in poverty and war with shortened lives or permanent depression who will never have the opportunity to feel like you and that is being perpetuated by this false optimism.

And on the other hand there are plenty who have a good comfortable life, but who life with exaggerated fears of terrorism or other causes of the end of the world as we know it, and others who have such an intense focus on the negative things in their life that they can not see the good. :dunno:
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Re: Antinatalism

#43  Postby Spinozasgalt » Mar 24, 2012 12:28 am

Andrew4Handel wrote:Personal oblivion will come to us all (if there is no afterlife) making all out current hopes and aspirations irrelevant but I am sure having a child amy comfort some and mean they don't have to feel a complete sense of personal extinction having left something of themselves behind...


What's so special about eternity? It seems to be a theme of your pessimism, so I'd like to get clear on it.
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Re: Antinatalism

#44  Postby MrFungus420 » Mar 24, 2012 3:57 am

Andrew4Handel wrote:Like David Benatar I believe that having children leads to nontrivial harm and therefore noone should procreate.


Good.

Please follow that maxim.
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Re: Antinatalism

#45  Postby Weaver » Mar 27, 2012 3:00 am


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Re: Antinatalism

#46  Postby Chrisw » Mar 27, 2012 6:06 pm

I'm not sure I understand the premise of this thread at all. Even if we accept that life inevitably involves suffering and distress doesn't it also involve pleasure and satisfaction? It is not at all obvious that any life you bring into the world will on balance be so miserable that it would be better that it never existed.
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Re: Antinatalism

#47  Postby OlivierK » Mar 27, 2012 11:22 pm

Chrisw wrote:I'm not sure I understand the premise of this thread at all. Even if we accept that life inevitably involves suffering and distress doesn't it also involve pleasure and satisfaction? It is not at all obvious that any life you bring into the world will on balance be so miserable that it would be better that it never existed.

A sense of perspective doesn't seem to be Andrew's strong point.
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Re: Antinatalism

#48  Postby jamest » Mar 27, 2012 11:36 pm

OlivierK wrote:
Chrisw wrote:I'm not sure I understand the premise of this thread at all. Even if we accept that life inevitably involves suffering and distress doesn't it also involve pleasure and satisfaction? It is not at all obvious that any life you bring into the world will on balance be so miserable that it would be better that it never existed.

A sense of perspective doesn't seem to be Andrew's strong point.

His argument only works if there is a universal consensus that there is no reason for living, which there is not. Even at Auschwitz, where we might say that suffering reigned supreme, most of the inmates wanted to carry on living. Clearly, even when suffering reaches such extremes, humanity has reasons for wanting to live. If hope and purpose can survive such an ordeal, then there really cannot be any suffering sufficient to deny the possibility of future human experience.
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Re: Antinatalism

#49  Postby orpheus » Mar 28, 2012 1:40 am

I think, James, that you've hit on the key - at least for me: experience. This is what I was trying to articulate in an earlier post. Suffering or joyousness, I want to be around for the action. I don't mean that to sound glib; actually it's such a fundamental, profound thing, it's hard to put into words. It's really just that experiences are better than the absence of experiences.
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Re: Antinatalism

#50  Postby Witticism » Mar 28, 2012 2:49 am

jamest wrote:
OlivierK wrote:
Chrisw wrote:I'm not sure I understand the premise of this thread at all. Even if we accept that life inevitably involves suffering and distress doesn't it also involve pleasure and satisfaction? It is not at all obvious that any life you bring into the world will on balance be so miserable that it would be better that it never existed.

A sense of perspective doesn't seem to be Andrew's strong point.

His argument only works if there is a universal consensus that there is no reason for living, which there is not. Even at Auschwitz, where we might say that suffering reigned supreme, most of the inmates wanted to carry on living. Clearly, even when suffering reaches such extremes, humanity has reasons for wanting to live. If hope and purpose can survive such an ordeal, then there really cannot be any suffering sufficient to deny the possibility of future human experience.

Not only that, but our inherent will to live (well the majority of us) is such a driving force that is engrained in the human psyche - as if it is one of the main defining characteristics of humanity.
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Re: Antinatalism

#51  Postby OlivierK » Mar 28, 2012 4:29 am

Witticism wrote:Not only that, but our inherent will to live (well the majority of us) is such a driving force that is engrained in the human psyche - as if it is one of the main defining characteristics of humanity.

I'm not sure it's particularly human - it seems common to most life.

And even Andrew doesn't seem to have a problem with continuance of life, just the starting of new life by those who know what it's like. I've helped start new life, and I did so knowing full well what it's like. It's just that my opinion on what it's like is different to Andrew's, clearly.
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Re: Antinatalism

#52  Postby Lobar » Apr 12, 2012 4:21 pm

David Benatar is the head of my philosophy dept at uni. Yeeeeaah!
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Re: Antinatalism

#53  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 13, 2012 12:59 pm

OlivierK wrote:I'm not sure it's particularly human - it seems common to most life.


Few would try to say that individuals in a species that has gone extinct simply lost their 'will to live'. This points out that 'will to live' is a tautology within the scope of natural selection with variation. The only point (for 'most life', put so glibly, but we mean 'all') is to survive long enough to reproduce. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Some people conclude a 'will to live' from the fact that many organisms do not die from spawning, as some salmon do. 'Will to live' looks to me like a metaphysical construction left over from vitalism.

This is philosophy's will-to-live in an environment in which it is bound to go extinct. It may take human extinction to accomplish that.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Antinatalism

#54  Postby Andrew4Handel » Apr 14, 2012 4:43 am

jamest wrote:
His argument only works if there is a universal consensus that there is no reason for living, which there is not. Even at Auschwitz, where we might say that suffering reigned supreme, most of the inmates wanted to carry on living. Clearly, even when suffering reaches such extremes, humanity has reasons for wanting to live. If hope and purpose can survive such an ordeal, then there really cannot be any suffering sufficient to deny the possibility of future human experience.



I don't think you can decide for other people how much suffering they can tolerate and as a parent you are inflicting inevitable suffering (illness and eventual death) on a new sentience not at its request.

The reality is that a significant amount of people will be brought into the world that reject it (over a million suicides a year) or who inevitable live mostly in suffering (Children who die in a famine) (adults who experience life longing grinding poverty)

My only concern is to prevent the propogation of suffering.

Based on your argument I could have a child and torture constantly til it died but that would be okay because it still would have had an innate will to live in the face of its suffering.

However I don't think the will to survive is rational considering that life is hard and death is inevitable. So just citing the fact that people persevere in the face of gross suffering is a flawed argument and bad justification for procreating.

At the same time I have my own perspective and it is entirely relevant and I feel forced into existence against my wishes into a world and body I would not have chosen. I have attempted suicide in the past because of this and my inability to find life pleasurable (although anti depressants help superficially boost my positive (sensations) and yet more people like me will be forced into existence based now it seems on a utilitarian gamble in that you are willing for their to be constant suffering and death for the sake of transient happiness of what is not even necessarily the majority in what maybe a pointless universe.

If you are someone who draws wider conclusions from evolution then it is clear that we have been cooerced into procreation by inhereting dispositions that perpetuate mindless procreation. I can't read anything positive or life affirming in that account.

If you dissect peoples given reasons for procreating I doubt any of them would stand up to scrutiny or even be the same as each other.

I just know that after I die there will be more war, natural disasters, AIDs and cancer and starving children and paedophilia and who is trying to stop this viscious cycle? having children wont...
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Re: Antinatalism

#55  Postby Doubtdispelled » Apr 14, 2012 10:28 am

@ Andrew, I'm curious. Is there literally nothing at all which gives you even the remotest semblance of pleasure?
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Re: Antinatalism

#56  Postby jamest » Apr 14, 2012 11:31 am

Andrew4Handel wrote:
jamest wrote:
His argument only works if there is a universal consensus that there is no reason for living, which there is not. Even at Auschwitz, where we might say that suffering reigned supreme, most of the inmates wanted to carry on living. Clearly, even when suffering reaches such extremes, humanity has reasons for wanting to live. If hope and purpose can survive such an ordeal, then there really cannot be any suffering sufficient to deny the possibility of future human experience.



I don't think you can decide for other people how much suffering they can tolerate and as a parent you are inflicting inevitable suffering (illness and eventual death) on a new sentience not at its request.

How do you know that an individual would request not to be born, assuming they had the capacity to make such a decision?
Further, you make it sound as though life has nothing to offer but suffering, which is not the case [for most individuals].

The reality is that a significant amount of people will be brought into the world that reject it (over a million suicides a year) or who inevitable live mostly in suffering (Children who die in a famine) (adults who experience life longing grinding poverty)

My only concern is to prevent the propogation of suffering.

1 million suicides a year compared to 140 million births, does not indicate that most of us want to turn off the lights.

Nobody rejects the notion that there's a lot of suffering. However, to overlook the joys of life; to overlook the innate desire to live most of us still harbour - regardless of our circumstances; to overlook the fact that there's other ways to resolve problems/suffering without having to annihilate our species; to overlook the fact that we may as a species eventually get our act together: this is why we reject your judgement.

Those who don't want to live are [mostly] free to end it all (ultimately, they cannot be stopped), but such people are not representative of the whole and [therefore] are not justified in making that decision for the whole - or the unborn.

There are many good reasons (individual and social) for not wanting children, but yours isn't one of them.

Based on your argument I could have a child and torture constantly til it died but that would be okay because it still would have had an innate will to live in the face of its suffering.

That wasn't my argument at all - I never remotely suggested that what happened at Auschwitz was 'okay'. The point was that even when suffering reaches such nightmarish proportions, most people still want to live through it. They harbour hope for something better.

However I don't think the will to survive is rational considering that life is hard and death is inevitable.

Life isn't always hard, and there are certainly many joys and pleasures to be found within life. There is also the potential for positive change - something you don't seem to have considered at all.

So just citing the fact that people persevere in the face of gross suffering is a flawed argument and bad justification for procreating.

They don't just want to live because they're afraid of death. They want to live because they know that beyond suffering, there's good reasons for being alive.

At the same time I have my own perspective and it is entirely relevant and I feel forced into existence against my wishes into a world and body I would not have chosen.

You didn't have the capacity to 'wish' until after the fact. If you don't like the way the world is, then put your energies into changing it. I don't know what your bodily problems are, but if you cannot change them then learn to accept them and make the most of them.

I have attempted suicide in the past because of this and my inability to find life pleasurable (although anti depressants help superficially boost my positive (sensations) and yet more people like me will be forced into existence based now it seems on a utilitarian gamble in that you are willing for their to be constant suffering and death for the sake of transient happiness of what is not even necessarily the majority in what maybe a pointless universe.

You need to change your mindset/attitude. That is the source of your suffering, as much as anything else. You are constantly hurting yourself.

If you are someone who draws wider conclusions from evolution then it is clear that we have been cooerced into procreation by inhereting dispositions that perpetuate mindless procreation. I can't read anything positive or life affirming in that account.

I don't believe that shit about evolution.
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Re: Antinatalism

#57  Postby Andrew4Handel » Apr 14, 2012 6:02 pm

How do you know that an individual would request not to be born, assuming they had the capacity to make such a decision?


Because I would have made that decision myself.

Once you're alive the thought of dying is frightening and so you don't automatically jump off a bridge when you are in deep distress. Once people are alive they tend to want to live because the other option of personal extinction if frightening. ( And Dorothy Parker listed the difficulties in commiting suicide which she herself attempted) http://www.breakoutofthebox.com/resume.htm

If I myself loved life I would probably not fathom how someone could reject it.I remember reading a book about a teenage girl who attempted suicide and it the time I couldn't fathom not wanting to live.

But once you get into that situation you understand fully and develop a unique perspective somewhat.

This is a thought experiment I apply. If you were offered a suffering free life but in exachange a baby had to ne perpetually tortured would you accept this offer?

This is what people do when they have children they accept/tolerate these million suicides and the wars inequality depression genocide and cancer and I find that deeply immoral personally.
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Re: Antinatalism

#58  Postby Invictus_88 » Apr 14, 2012 6:12 pm

Andrew4Handel wrote:
How do you know that an individual would request not to be born, assuming they had the capacity to make such a decision?


Because I would have made that decision myself.

Once you're alive the thought of dying is frightening and so you don't automatically jump off a bridge when you are in deep distress. Once people are alive they tend to want to live because the other option of personal extinction if frightening. ( And Dorothy Parker listed the difficulties in commiting suicide which she herself attempted) http://www.breakoutofthebox.com/resume.htm

If I myself loved life I would probably not fathom how someone could reject it.I remember reading a book about a teenage girl who attempted suicide and it the time I couldn't fathom not wanting to live.

But once you get into that situation you understand fully and develop a unique perspective somewhat.

This is a thought experiment I apply. If you were offered a suffering free life but in exachange a baby had to ne perpetually tortured would you accept this offer?

This is what people do when they have children they accept/tolerate these million suicides and the wars inequality depression genocide and cancer and I find that deeply immoral personally.


So...you're only here posting these message because you're too scared to kill yourself, as your worldview dictates that you should?

This whole "antinatalism" thing is very silly and pretty destructive too. It's just pessimism taken too far.
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Re: Antinatalism

#59  Postby Doubtdispelled » Apr 14, 2012 6:18 pm

Andrew4Handel wrote:
This is a thought experiment I apply. If you were offered a suffering free life but in exachange a baby had to ne perpetually tortured would you accept this offer?

No one in their right mind would accept that, Andrew.

Andrew4Handel wrote:This is what people do when they have children they accept/tolerate these million suicides and the wars inequality depression genocide and cancer and I find that deeply immoral personally.

I have four children and two grandchildren. Three girls and three boys. I find your opinion personally offensive. I think I'll ask each one of them whether they would rather not have been born.

Oh, wait, I'm pretty sure that their answers will all be the same. They would rather be alive than not.

But I'll ask them if you would like me to.

Invictus_88 wrote:This whole "antinatalism" thing is very silly and pretty destructive too. It's just pessimism taken too far.

I think it's severe depression that needs medical intervention.
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Re: Antinatalism

#60  Postby Shrunk » Apr 14, 2012 6:36 pm

Doubtdispelled wrote:@[color=#CC0000][b] Andrew,[/b][/color] I'm curious. Is there literally nothing at all which gives you even the remotest semblance of pleasure?


Yanking atheists' chains, it seems.
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